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Senior Ukrainian officials resign amid crackdown on corruption

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The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office resigned on Tuesday after Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to shake up staff amid allegations of high-level corruption during the war with Russia.

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Yrylo asked to relieve Tymoshenko of her duties, according to an online copy of a decree signed by the Ukrainian president and Mr Tymoshenko’s own social media posts.

The reason for the resignation was not even mentioned.

Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov also resigned, with local media reporting that his departure was linked to a scandal involving the procurement of food for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Simonenko also resigned.

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Mr Tymoshenko joined the presidential office in 2019, after working on Mr Zelensky’s media and creative content strategy during his presidential campaign.

Mr Zelensky promised personnel changes in the government, regional administrations and security forces after allegations of corruption surfaced following Russia’s invasion last February.

Last year Mr Tymoshenko was under investigation related to his personal use of luxury cars.

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He was also among officials linked to embezzlement of more than US$7 million (£5.7 million) in humanitarian aid earmarked for the southern Zaporizhzhya region last September.

He has denied all the allegations.

In comments on Sunday, Mr Zelensky vowed to root out corrupt officials, with a deputy minister being sacked for being part of a network that embezzled budget funds.

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Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure later identified the fired official as Vasyl Lozinsky, a deputy minister there.

In his nightly video address, Mr Zelensky said Ukraine’s focus on the war would not prevent his government from tackling corruption.

The president, who came to power in 2019 on an anti-establishment and anti-corruption platform, pointed to skepticism in the areas of energy and military procurement.

He said he intended the deputy minister’s dismissal “to send a signal to all those whose actions or behavior violate the principle of justice”.

“I want to be clear: There will be no return to what used to be in the past,” he said.

Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said Mr Lozinsky had been relieved of his duties after being detained by Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency while he was helping to recover contracts related to restoring infrastructure hit by Russian missile attacks. $400,000 (£322,800) in bribes were being received to help.

A statement by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau described Mr Lozinsky as part of “an organized criminal group involved in the embezzlement of budget funds”.

It said its detectives were working to identify other members of the group.

Meanwhile, a civilian was killed and two others wounded in overnight Russian shelling near the eastern town of Bakhmut, the epicenter of fighting in recent months, regional governor Pavlo Kirilenko said on Tuesday.

Russian forces also shelled nine towns and villages in the northern Sumy region that borders Russia, killing a young woman and wounding three others, local governor Dmytro Zhivitsky reported on Telegram.

He said all those killed lived in the same house, which was directly targeted by the artillery.

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